Dean of the College

Connecticut College
December 2020

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Connecticut College seeks a creative, collaborative, and committed educator and leader for its next dean of the college. Reporting to the President, the dean is responsible for ensuring the excellence of the student academic experience on campus and overseas. The appointment begins July 1, 2021.

The Role: The dean of the college is the chief student success officer, serving as a member of the President’s cabinet and working collaboratively with key senior leaders and colleagues across the institution to ensure the highest quality of the student academic experience. Most critically, the dean of the college partners with the dean of the faculty in supporting Connections, Connecticut College’s signature integrative education program, ensuring the excellence of the student experience in first-year seminars, team advising, integrative pathways, global and local engagements, world languages, social difference and power courses, and in the annual All-College Symposium. 

The dean of the college division encompasses several offices and centers that support students in achieving excellence in all aspects of their academic and professional development in college and beyond, including the office of the dean of the college, the offices of study away and fellowships, the Hale Center for Career Development, and the Academic Resource Center. With these staff, the dean is responsible for strong advising, retention, and graduation rates among the College’s 1800 domestic and international students as well as excellent post-baccalaureate outcomes. The dean supports the presidential scholars program, the Posse program, and the Mellon-Mays undergraduate fellowship program, as well as a full range of awards and prizes recognizing student achievement. In all these ways, the dean is an advocate for equity and excellence, working to realize the College’s strategic goal of full participation through strong academic support structures that enable all students to thrive, reach their potential, and contribute to the thriving of others. 

This commitment to student success, which begins before students arrive on campus and continues after they depart, requires collaboration with all senior leaders at the College who support the student experience. In that respect, the dean of the college is a close partner to: 

—the dean of the faculty in implementing the College’s curricular, advising, and fellowship programs both on campus and around the globe;

—the dean of admission and financial aid in supporting student recruitment, selection, and yield, and in ensuring the smooth transition of admitted students through matriculation; 

—the dean of students in developing co-curricular programs that promote the core principles of challenge, ownership, reflection, and engagement and in supporting the College’s CARE team; and

—the dean of institutional equity and inclusion in creating academic policies and practices that promote equity for all students, and in providing direct support to our New York and Chicago Posses as well as to students in the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

The deans of the college, students, and institutional equity and inclusion together form an integrated “student experience group,” with a focus on sharing knowledge and resources to enhance student success, engagement, and wellbeing. With these leaders, the dean is responsible for clear communication to students, faculty, and families about academic opportunities, resources, expectations, and deadlines. The dean serves on important College and Trustee committees related to academic affairs, the student experience, educational policy and planning, study away, and academic standing. The dean also oversees the New London scholars program and supports students pursuing self-designed interdisciplinary majors and minors.  

The Opportunity: The College’s distinctive approach to integrative education has attracted stronger and stronger applicants in recent years, with over two thirds of first-year students rating Connecticut College as their first choice and over 90% pointing to Connections as one of the main reasons they chose to enroll at Conn. Following a remarkably effective online All College Symposium in November 2020, nearly 70% of current sophomores are now enrolled in center certificates and pathways, offering yet another measure of the ongoing success of Connections. The next dean will need to continue partnering with the dean of the faculty to build on the strength of this innovative program, becoming an articulate spokesperson for Connections as a driver of inclusive excellence. 

As a mark of that excellence, the new dean will also build on the College’s impressive record of post-graduate success—exemplified this year in our largest cohort of Fulbright applicants ever, the renewal of our partnership with the Watson Foundation, and the very first Marshall scholar in our history—by growing the pipeline for prestigious post-baccalaureate fellowships and awards. The dean will also be instrumental in achieving the strategic goal of national leadership in academic and skill building for life, advocating for the centrality of professional development in educating the whole person. With new programs launched in the Hale Center for Career Development and a significant new endowment supporting the next phase of development for the College’s signature Academic Resource Center, the opportunity will be to activate the synergies between these centers in order to provide exceptional opportunities for student success. 

The new dean will advance these initiatives in an increasingly challenging environment for higher education. This reality will necessitate not only a level of ingenuity in budget management and resource reallocation but also responsiveness to new opportunities for growing both in-person and online programs, especially summer offerings, that have the potential to provide new sources of revenue.

Qualifications and Experience: The ideal candidate for this position will be a respected educator with an earned doctorate or other terminal degree and a record of leadership in an environment of shared governance. The dean will also possess many of the following qualities and capabilities: 

  • A strong commitment to equity and access 
  • Excellence in teaching, advising, and service, and laser-like focus on student success
  • Passion for the College’s educational mission of “putting the liberal arts into action”
  • Keen strategic and visionary sense along with an ability to execute long-range agendas
  • Respect for the value of consultative decision-making and cross-divisional collaboration
  • Demonstrated ability and interest in academic administration 
  • Collaborative spirit and proficiency working with a wide range of people, including senior leaders, staff, faculty, students, parents, alumni, and trustees
  • Competency in managing staff, communicating goals and expectations, mentoring and evaluating work, and building strong teams
  • Capacity to recognize talent and delegate authority
  • Aptitude for both developing and applying academic policies with sensitivity and nuance
  • Ability to listen with objectivity, fair-mindedness, and respect
  • Financial acumen and budget management experience 
  • Success in applying for grants to support strategic needs 
  • Exceptional writing and public speaking skills and facility in communicating with a broad range of audiences, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents
  • An analytical mind and experience using data for planning and decision making
  • Deep reserves of empathy, emotional intelligence, and compassion
  • Sound judgment, professionalism, discretion, and trust
  • Excellent organizational habits
  • Creativity in problem solving
  • Humility and a sense of humor

Application process: Send applications or nominations to Lauren.Middleton@conncoll.edu (include “Dean of the College application/nomination” in the subject line). Applications should include a full CV and letter of interest; nominations should include a few lines about why the nominator believes the proposed candidate would be a good fit for the position. Application review will begin February 15, 2015, but the search will remain open until filled. 

As a highly selective residential liberal arts college, Connecticut College is committed to creating a vibrant community enriched by diverse perspectives, talents, and experiences. We encourage applications from candidates who share this commitment and will contribute to the diversity of our college community, especially members of historically under-represented groups.   AA/EOE.